Posts Categorized: Food

Faith and your dinner plate

globe and web with climate justice or climate chaos printed on it Food choices help mitigate climate change Originally published in the Presbyterians Today March/April 2019 edition Choosing a protein for a meal is no easy task. Can you afford it? Is it good for you? If you have kids, will they eat it? Then there are the less common and more challenging questions: Was the earth… Read more »

Why did your organic milk get a ‘0 cow’ rating?

One would hope that organic milk would be healthy as well as being good for land and cows. Alas. This scorecard crushes that hope. Based on a just-completed comprehensive study –Full Report | Executive Summary, the Cornucopia Institute has released a handy five-cow ranking chart where you can find 160 organic milk brands. I was eager to see… Read more »

When in Iceland, eat sheep

By Kathleen Murphy, former Boston Food Justice Young Adult Volunteer and PHP Food Justice Fellow, pictured here in Thingvellir Park, Iceland, where the continental divide goes through the island nation and the ancient parliament met. As an adventurous eater I was really excited to see what kind of trouble I could get myself into when… Read more »

There is Chicken Blood on my Pants (and No, I’m not a Witch).

It is quite humbling to catch a chicken, hold her, pet her, attempt to calm her, pass her off to Steve, and look her in the eye as the hatchet comes down. Then after plucking feathers, and knifing away the vitals, I carry it on ice to my freezer. I did that today.  I caught a bird that has lived at Ferncliff much longer than I have, and helped end her life.


This article is about killing chicken.  I thought you should know that here before you decide to keep reading or not.


There was a bright vivacious red color blood.  There were feathers–lots of them. There was a small child calling at his father, “please don’t kill it Dad.”  There was slimy smelly guts. There was skin. There were feathers we missed. There was yellow fat.  It smelled like a dead animal, it did a lot of twitching.  It bled on me. It’s smell lingers in my arm hairs hours later.


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Whitewater Valley Presbytery Anti-Hunger and Opportunity Corps – VISTA member

About Anti-Hunger and Opportunity Corps: The Anti-Hunger and Opportunity Corps (AHOC) is an AmeriCorps VISTA project, sponsored by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service, the Corporation for National and Community Service, and the Wal-Mart Foundation, and managed by the New York City Coalition Against Hunger. The VISTA members work in both rural and urban areas… Read more »

Roots, Beets, Ashes

It was silly, but I was still surprised that they did not come out of the ground ready to be borsht. They are covered in dirt, dark brown, earthy smelling. And I realized; it was a root.

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Have you noticed an increase in obesity in our nation? What about a decrease in physical activity?   The makers of HBO’s “Weight of the Nation” sure have and did something about it. The 4 part documentary is a commentary on our nation’s health crisis: obesity. At times is tough to watch and other times… Read more »

Christmas: A Cure for Winter Blues

In recent years, I find myself increasingly melancholy in the days leading up to Christmas. There is a lot I want to love about the holiday, like stopping and spending time with loved ones, and the outpouring of kindness on one another. These are beautiful sentiments, but so often hard to focus on during the hustle  and bustle of the season.

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Thanksgiving Traditions

The aroma of macaroni and cheese, collard greens, chicken, ham, green beans, potato salad, yams, corn pudding and corn bread slithers up my nostrils. Four generations of my family form a circle and link hands. We bow our heads for prayer. My uncle asks God to bless the food and the hands that prepared it. We whisper our thanks and say “Amen” in unison. We part and create a path for the elders to make their plates then the children. Everyone has a place at the table. We eat and laugh for hours. Plates are licked clean. Stomachs are full. Pants are bursting at the seams. We find comfort at the table, where our family congregates and share the fruit of their labor. Never do we discuss where our dinner comes from. Never do we discuss the health related consequences of the food we eat. All that seems to matter is the taste and the fact that we have plenty.

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Tomato Season

“They are not for me,” replied the women “some friends are down on their luck, so I’m helping them out with groceries.”

I love this time of year when tomatoes are a plenty.

I recently joined a farm co-op, where you work a few hours a week in exchange for vegetables, meat, and eggs. They just started the work co-op about a month ago, and conversations are plentiful among members about the positive impacts it is having on their lives. I was having one such conversation last Saturday as I helped clear out an area for fall planting.

We were chatting about the wonderful opportunity it gave us, the grounding feeling of working for our food and how rich we felt eating it, when a relation of the land’s owner came up to pick some tomatoes.

“What are you making?” asked my fellow co-op member.

“They are not for me,” replied the women “some friends are down on their luck, so I’m helping them out with groceries.”

As she worked her way down the tomatoes and to the peppers she explained that she was getting them everything they need to make a big of pot of chili, enough to freeze. Something to fill their stomach, and warm their souls.

Looking at the red tomatoes in her arms I couldn’t help but smile. It’s hard to feel down on your luck with a few of those at hand. There is something about a good meal that makes life feel abundant.

I hope that her friends feel abundance and love when they sit down to that meal of red hot chili.

Elise Springuel is an AmeriCorps*VISTA working with the Presbyterian Hunger Program and she likes her tomatoes hot off the vine.

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